This guide helps you learn more about sustainability and gives practical steps for living a more sustainable life, but what does it mean to be sustainable? Why 'Go Green'? There isn't one agreed upon definition of sustainability. At its very basic, the idea is that we are using up the resources of the world faster than the earth can replenish them. The essentials we need to survive - clean air, clean water, food, and shelter - require using resources that are not easily renewable. On top of that, we use resources for the things that make life enjoyable above and beyond basic survival - clothing, transportation, entertainment, art, etc. Eventually our usage of the world's resources will deplete the earth to the point where it will no longer sustain human life. Many argue that we have already reached this point and the result is climate change. Sustainability seeks to solve this issue by finding ways to use less of the world's resources. The hope is that we will get to a point where our usage of the world's resources is sustainable. Sustainability is a different way of thinking about every aspect of human life, shifting the focus from wastefulness for the sake of convenience to considering the consequences of what we consume.
"Sustainability is an adaptive art wedded to science in service to ethical vision. It entails satisfying current needs without sacrificing future well-being through the balanced pursuit of ecological health, economic welfare, social empowerment, and cultural creativity" (p. 5) Leslie Paul Thiele
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." WCED
Sustainability is "an attempt to provide the best outcomes for the human and natural environments both now and into the indefinite future." Environmental Protection Agency
Some say there are already severe consequences for the way that human kind has overused the world's resources. Why make the goal to sustain the status quo when we can restore the world instead? Regenerative design seeks to move beyond sustainability to restore ecosystems rather than maintain them as they are.
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